Colombo: Having hit a defiant fifty to help Sri Lanka claw back into the game, wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera on Sunday said the match was evenly poised after India's top-order was rattled in the second innings on Day 3 of the third and final cricket Test here.
On a dramatic day which saw fortune fluctuating from one team to the other, India had the game firmly in control by taking a decent 111-run first-innings lead which could have been much bigger but for some audacious counter attack by debutant Perera (55) and Rangana Herath (49).
India were then left gasping at a precarious 21 for three in the second innings to allow the islanders to neutralise the advantage. Perera believes his bowlers can now make it count. "Our bowlers bowled a lot of good lines, and the pitch was quite lively. The match is open now. We've taken three wickets. If we take two wickets in the morning, there's a chance we can win this match," Perera said in the post-day press conference.
Sri Lanka were in trouble at 47 for six, when Perera stitched a crucial 79-run seventh-wicket partnership with Herath to lift the hosts to 201 in reply to India's first-innings score of 312.
"When I went to bat there were a few nerves. It was 45/5. My role was to score as many runs as possible. That's what I tried to do. When you're batting at number seven, you have to bat with the tail. You have to bat according to that situation. I had to decide whether to play my natural game," said Perera.
"Herath made it easy for me, because by blocking up an end, I was able to go for shots myself. There wasn't much pressure on me. I wasn't afraid to give him the strike because he was batting well," he added.
Talking more about his maiden half-century, Perera gave a tip or two on how to bat on this SSC wicket, "The wicket is quite lively. There's a chance to give away your wicket but when you bat for a bit, it also becomes decent for batsmen. We have to be positive, but if we're too aggressive early, you could lose a wicket because they are bowling good lines. We have to respect the good balls and hit the loose ones otherwise we can't put them on the back foot."